Emily post wedding attire

  • Only the bride wears white. The wedding day is considered the bride’s time to shine, although many people now ignore many of the old-school etiquette rules. However, since you should never take the attention from the bride, it’s still a good rule to follow. Even if your favorite, most flattering dress is white or off-white, save it for another time. You never want anyone to question who is getting married, so pick another color. There is bound to be something else you can wear to show off your gorgeous hair or skin tone. However, some couples are now choosing a monochromatic wedding and requesting that all of the guests wear white. If that’s the case, go along with the bride and groom’s wishes.
  • Complete the look. Go ahead and accessorize to your heart’s content, but don’t make the mistake of wearing anything that is blinding (rhinestones that sparkle so much that people mistake you for a disco ball), view blocking (humongous floppy hat with a gigantic gardenia on the rim), or noisy wrist-to-elbow stacked bangles that cling and clang with every movement. Unless this is a summer wedding, please wear skin-toned hose.
  • Have a happy face. Like Little Orphan Annie has always said, you’re never fully dressed without a smile. Attend the wedding with a positive attitude and be prepared to have a great time. Even if you don’t approve of the wedding, you can at least be nice for the duration of the ceremony and reception. This is a celebration, not a time to express your negative thoughts or create drama.
  • Leave the monster-sized handbag at home. Many women carry all of their essentials everywhere they go. However, you don’t want to take up extra seating in the venue, so opt for a smaller handbag that doesn’t take up so much space. If you feel as though you really need your “stuff,” drop a clutch with your essentials into a tote. When you get to the venue, carry the clutch and leave the tote in your locked car.

A wedding timeline can be intimidating to write for the first time. Even if you’ve attended a lot of weddings, you probably haven’t paid much attention to how long each individual aspect lasted (barring the rare occasion that you end up in direct sunlight at an hour-long outdoor ceremony on a 90 degree day, which nobody forgets). Getting started can be the toughest part, so we put together templates for a few different types of weddings to ease you into the process.

For my fellow type-A personalities out there: keep in mind that your wedding day timeline is just a guideline! Your wedding will not fall to pieces if it runs a little bit ahead or behind. In fact, most weddings stray by at least fifteen to twenty minutes (if not more) from the timeline at different points during the day or night, and then make up for that time later. We might extend cocktail hour because people are having fun (or if the kitchen is running late). We might move up the first dance because everyone finished eating early. Your guests will neither notice nor care. Starting and ending the wedding on time are key—hitting everything in the middle in the approximate right order is important, but you usually have to adjust a little to fit the particular set of people in attendance. With all of that said, the day of you should definitely put someone else in charge of following the wedding timeline. You want to have so much fun at your wedding that you have no idea what time it is.

One last note before we get into examples: we did not write these timelines with any particular faith or tradition in mind. Catholic ceremonies with full Mass tend to last about an hour, many Jewish weddings include traditions like a ketubah signing or yihud that should be accounted for, and the list goes on. Be sure to make adjustments to suit you and your partner’s needs and desires.

WEDDING TIMELINE WITH A 4 P.M. START TIME

Because the 4 p.m. ceremony time, 10 p.m. reception end (with both ceremony and reception in the same venue), with secular ceremony and photos beforehand is a pretty common format, let’s start with that wedding timeline.

MORNING WEDDING

Morning weddings are lovely, and until recently were actually pretty much the norm. Also—who doesn’t love brunch food? Or an excuse to drink champagne before noon? Here’s a sample morning wedding timeline:

EARLY AFTERNOON WEDDING Day TIMELINE

Afternoon weddings are a happy medium, and they can work especially well for all-outdoor events. Not only do you not have to get up super early, but afternoon weddings still leave enough time for just the two of you to go out for dinner. (Seriously, if your reception is a meal other than dinner, and you’re not planning on hanging out with your guests later, please build room in your budget to take yourselves out to a lovely meal somewhere.) This is also a very kid-friendly wedding timeline, which may be important to you if there are lots of small people in your life:

LATER EVENING WEDDING day TIMELINE

I love a good evening party myself, so if you want people to party until midnight, then a later-in-the-evening wedding is a good bet. It should be noted that the evening wedding tends not to be particularly kid-friendly, so if you have a large number of little ones you’d like to include in your festivities, then an evening wedding may not be the best option for you (few kids are going to make it to a dinner that’s past their bedtime without a meltdown…). Of course the biggest win from an evening wedding, as far as I’m concerned, is that you can start your wedding day off by sleeping in! Highly recommended for night owls. Here’s how that wedding timeline might look:

COCKTAIL PARTY STYLE RECEPTION TIMELINE

The key is continuous rounds of food, with some heavier things around “dinner” time, and a menu that consists of food that can be eaten standing up (so, no knives, but forks are fine!) and served on smaller plates (because, big plates are awkward when you have to hold them standing up). For a cocktail style reception you don’t need tables or seating for everyone, although you should have some scattered throughout, particularly if you’re going to have older guests. A cocktail style reception might look something like the following:

SEPARATE CEREMONY AND RECEPTION TIMES

Sometimes having a time gap between the ceremony and reception is inevitable—the religious venue won’t schedule ceremonies after a certain time of day, or you simply can’t schedule back-to-back ceremonies and receptions at your two venues due to availability. While not always ideal, gaps aren’t that uncommon, or even that difficult to deal with. The first thing to think about (as with most parts of your wedding) is guest comfort. Do most of your guests live within a short driving distance? Or are they staying in nearby hotels? Are there things to do (coffee shops, museums, shopping) around one or both of your sites? Make sure your guests don’t have to spend a “gap” sitting in their cars in the parking lot, or awkwardly hanging out in the lobby of your reception venue waiting for it to start.

In general, if you have to have a gap, the ideal amount of time is about two to three hours, assuming that both venues and the hotels are within a half hour of each other. This actually gives people enough time to say, go and hang out and get some coffee, or go back to their hotel room to change or take a short nap, or check out some local galleries and stores. The one hour gap is the, I have to say it, worst. It’s not enough time to actually do anything, but too much time to… not do anything. So, if your reason for a gap is that you want to do photos after the ceremony but not miss cocktail hour, the solution is to do a one and a half to two hour cocktail hour. Because asking guests to stand around with nothing to do and nothing to eat or drink is just not very hospitable.

Here’s a sample of a wedding timeline with a two-hour gap between the ceremony and reception:

WEDDING DAY TIMELINE: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHAT IS THE INVITE TIME?

The “invite time” is the time on your invitation. The earliest guests will show up is about half an hour before this, so be prepared for that. And then there are the late guests. No matter the size of your guest list, you can put money on the fact that ten of them will be around ten minutes late, even if they’re all staying down the street from the venue. Do yourself a favor and plan on starting the ceremony at least fifteen minutes after your invite time, and get advice from your vendors if you can (especially a caterer). In some regions, guests tend to stroll in as late as twenty five to thirty minutes after invite time. There’s nothing more awkward than a late arrival standing at the back of the aisle because the bridesmaids are walking down.

SHOULD WE HAVE A RECEIVING LINE?

You don’t have to! They aren’t as popular as they used to be, at least in New York. The perk of the receiving line is that it allows for you to greet all (or almost all) of your guests individually, while also letting you actually sit down to eat a meal (since the other popular way to do this is to go around to tables during dinner) and, if you have two photographers at your wedding, is a great way to get photos of you with many of your guests. A good time to do the receiving line is from cocktail hour into dinner—post yourselves at a convenient transition point (e.g. a doorway) when you have about a half hour of cocktail hour to go, and have someone be in charge of gently herding guests through you to dinner—you take about a minute greeting/hugging/fist bumping everyone as they come into the dining room, and then it’s dinner time!

WHEN SHOULD WE SERVE DINNER AT OUR WEDDING?

Timing for dinner depends largely on 1) what type of food service you’re having (the most common options being buffet, family style, and plated) and 2) how large your guest list is. It takes about twenty minutes for one hundred guests to get through a buffet. Plated courses are usually spaced about forty-five minutes apart. And family style also takes about fifteen to twenty minutes for one hundred guests to be served. Plan accordingly—it’s nice to have a minimum of bread on the table to give guests something to snack on while they wait for their turn at the food, although plated salads are also a great way to start out an otherwise buffet meal for the same reason. And of course, always discuss timing with whoever is actually serving your food. They should have the best idea for your particular menu, and they can help you make your timeline as close to accurate as possible.

WHEN DO WEDDING TOASTS HAPPEN?

I really encourage people to do toasts during dinner: you have a captive audience, and people are in a headspace to be attentive, plus you don’t have to carve separate time out of the day for them to happen. I suggest waiting until guests have had a bit of time to eat, if possible, before getting the speeches started. Make sure to tell the catering staff that they should continue to serve, clear, etc., while people are speaking (they’re good at doing this discreetly), and have your photographer take a break either before speeches begin or after they’re complete.

WHEN IS SUNSET ON OUR WEDDING DAY?

Note what time it’s going to happen! It’s as easy as Googling “sunset on in .” You’re going to want to think about lighting, especially if your event is happening partially outdoors. If possible, try to avoid having your guests in direct sunlight at high-noon, facing the sun as it sets, or in another uncomfortable situation.

And also…

WHEN SHOULD WE TAKE WEDDING PHOTOS?

Whether or not you opt for an “official” photographed first look, the truth is that a lot of couples these days tend to do formal portraits before the ceremony, because otherwise you’re stuck wrangling people during cocktail hour, which a) means they’re less compliant and b) you miss out on mingling with your guests (but not hors d’oeuvres, because you should definitely ask your caterer to set some aside for you). Also, I always suggest a second set of portraits after the ceremony and right before sunset for two reasons: the light is totally different and gorgeous (they don’t call it golden hour for nothing), and you’re also in a totally different space emotionally—you may have had a glass of champagne, and you’re married—as opposed to about to get married in an hour. You really only need to budget ten to fifteen minutes for these, and you should plan on it being just the two of you and your primary photographer. This mini session also has the added benefit of giving you a short break away from the crowds. Your photographer can also help you figure out the best timing!

CAN WE TAKE OUR PORTRAITS AFTER THE CEREMONY INSTEAD?

It’s totally fine if one or both of you is against taking photos before the ceremony—but how do you get them in your wedding timeline? Extend cocktails! I’d encourage you to schedule the ceremony about thirty minutes earlier than you normally would (so, set it for 3:30 p.m. instead of 4:00 p.m.), or dinner thirty minutes later, thereby giving yourself a ninety-minute cocktail hour that you’ll be able to join in for at least half an hour. Remember if you do this that you’ll need enough drinks and snacks to feed your group for the extended length, so plan ahead (or talk with your caterer) as needed.

Also make sure that everyone who’s going to be in photos knows ahead of time, and goes from the ceremony to the photo site. Get extended family photos out of the way first, immediate family second, wedding party third, and then do your couple portraits last—the key is to release the most people to cocktail hour as quickly as possible. A well-thought-out shot list will be your friend here. Take the time to sit down with your photographer and make it, and try to condense the family portraits as much as possible. (Do you really need individual portraits of you with every single person you’re related to? Probably not.)

WHEN SHOULD WE SERVE DESSERT?

While this rule seems to have gotten lost over the generations, traditionally it’s considered acceptable to leave a wedding once the cake has been cut—at that point you know that nothing else major is going to happen (it’s just partying from there on out) and hey, maybe you have a sitter to get home to, or just want to be in bed to watch Netflix. And while you may not be aware of this rule, if you have any guests over sixty years old, then they do, and they will wait for you to cut the cake (or alternative dessert, like maybe pie). So don’t wait until too late to do it. I mean, no one wants to leave without a piece of cake (or, again, pie). And schedule this bit of theatre into your wedding timeline, because people’s happiness (and bedtimes) depend on it.

WHAT IS THE LAST CALL AT A WEDDING?

The universal signal that things are about to wrap up or wind down. I prefer a “last song” announcement from the DJ or band, or nothing at all, but it can be a helpful signal to your guests.

WHO IS IN CHARGE OF WEDDING BREAKDOWN?

If your venue has strict timing rules, or noise restrictions, or you’re paying a staff hourly and they’re going to go into overtime or time-and-a-half at some point, don’t forget about breakdown. This is the thing everyone leaves out of their wedding timeline, and it’s very important. It’s generally faster than setup (it’s a lot quicker to toss decorations into a box than it is to take them out and perfectly arrange them), and with a big enough team, it can happen in about an hour, but sometimes close to two hours is a more accurate estimate. Think about all of the things that are going to need to happen once the lights go on and how much time that will take, and plan the end of the night accordingly.

DOES OUR WEDDING TimEline HAVE TO HAVE AN END TIME?

Maybe your wedding is at your house, or at a venue you’ve rented for the whole weekend, or some other magical place that will let you stay as late as you want! How do you wrap up your wedding timeline? There are four signals to guests that a party is over: 1) the bar closes, 2) the music stops, 3) the lights come on, 4) people start cleaning up around them. When deployed together only the very, very densest of people would miss the signal that it’s time for them to leave.

But maybe you don’t want people to leave! That’s totally fine. You probably will want your event staff, if you have them, to leave at some point though, unless you’ve budgeted for a lot of overtime pay. At some point the bar can become self-serve, the DJ or band can switch to a Spotify playlist (or maybe was a Spotify playlist from the start), and the kitchen can close or the caterers can leave, but leave behind some trays of leftover dinner food, or big bowls of chips and salsa. (Let’s be real: if you want people to stay and drink until two in the morning, you probably want to provide them with something to snack on.)

SHOULD WE HAVE AN AFTER PARTY?

It depends on a few factors. Is your crew… rowdy? Will it be a lot of guests who not only love to party, but also haven’t seen each other in awhile? Are you having a big mix of family and friends, and thinking family is likely to go to bed early? Does your ceremony start at 6:00 p.m. or later? Signs are pointing to yes. My favorite way to do this, because it’s the easiest, is to pick a nearby bar ahead of time, make a reservation for a table if it’s that kind of place, spread the word, and whoever wants to go can go.

Do you have to host (as in, pay for) the after party drinks? Definitely not. You certainly can, and it would be super nice, but after paying for everyone’s drinks for six hours, you’re off the hook (and I will tell you—if you walk into a bar in a wedding gown there’s definitely no one in the world who’s going to make you pay for you own drinks!). Also—if the majority of your guests are staying in the same hotel, that hotel bar can be a great option for this. It’s hard to say no to the after party when it’s in the same building as your bed.

You probably want your wedding day to last for as long as possible because, chances are, it’s going to whizz by all too quickly! But when should you start things off and when should it all finish? It’s up to you really, so to help you decide on wedding timings, we’ve compiled a list of pros and cons for each options…

Credit: James Davidson

Wedding Timings: What Time of day is Best for my Wedding?

An afternoon wedding

Credit: Sarah Morris Photography

With an afternoon wedding, your time is going to be limited. If your ceremony is scheduled for 2pm and you then host a wedding reception afterwards, before leaving for your honeymoon at about 6pm, that only gives you four hours to fit everything in; this should be more than enough time for a small, intimate wedding, but if you’ve dreamed of a big event you might find it all a bit of a rush.

If you have young children whom you want to be part of your big day, then they’ll be at their best during the afternoon rather than the evening when they might become bored, tired and grumpy.

Because an afternoon event is shorter, you’ll find it easier to stick to a tight wedding budget. After your ceremony you could simply hold an afternoon tea. Apart from some fizz for the toasts, you can get away with serving cups of tea and coffee and soft drinks. A vintage theme works really well with an afternoon tea and don’t forget you can hire some really pretty china to add to the effect.

An afternoon wedding can open up your venue choices, too – you can hold an elegant affair in the conservatory of a stately home or country house hotel and maybe even have a string quartet playing as people arrive in the mellow afternoon light.

An evening wedding

Credit: Rob Sanderson Photography Continue reading below…

Due to a recent relaxation in the laws surrounding the time you can get married, you can now hold your ceremony during the evening and then throw a party immediately afterwards. If you fancy holding your event in a stately home or National Trust property, which normally only holds weddings outside of daytime opening hours, you may have the place all to yourselves. Talk to your venue about what’s possible.

Don’t feel you have to have a formal sit-down dinner if you’re hosting an evening celebration. If you’d rather your guests mingled, then consider serving a buffet. You can still have a table plan if you’re planning on seating your guests, and how about trying a sweetie table instead of formally serving dessert.

If you opt for an evening wedding then you’ll probably be having a DJ or live band to entertain your guests. If that’s the case, don’t forget to have some sort of chill-out room for your guests who would rather sit, chat and catch up instead of dance. They’re going to need to be able to hear each other rather than have music drowning out the conversation! Also, if you’re having to clear tables away from the front to accommodate the dancing then think about where those guests are going to be sitting – particularly older ones. You don’t want people to leave early because they’re uncomfortable!

Depending on the type of catering you decide on, an evening wedding may work out to be more expensive than an afternoon celebration as you’re likely to be inviting more people, hence catering for them all.

If young children are attending, you may need to think about a quiet room where they can sit and watch a DVD quietly or have a nap.

An all-day event

Credit: Award Weddings

An all-day event goes on for longer, which is lovely for you but you’ll need to think carefully about your guests’ wants and needs if you’re entertaining them from lunchtime through to midnight.

Firstly, consider your budget. If you’re holding your ceremony at 2pm then you’ll need to offer your guests refreshments immediately afterwards, either a drinks reception or an afternoon tea. For the evening event you’re going to need to do the same again; greet your evening guests with drinks and canapés before an evening meal, whether it’s a buffet, formal sit-down or something informal like a hog roast.

You’re going to need to send out two different sorts of invitations – an invitation to both the afternoon and evening event for some guests and an evening-only invite to others. Don’t make your evening guests feel second-best. Greet them warmly; they’re making the effort to attend your wedding, they’ve probably given you a present and you want them to have a good time.

If you can have a short break between the afternoon and evening event it gives everyone a chance to catch their breath – and it also gives you chance to redo your hair and make-up. If you’re holding your evening do in a different venue, people can go back to where they’re staying to get changed, freshen up and return invigorated for the evening ahead. Children can be bathed and put to bed in the care of a babysitter so parents can enjoy an evening unencumbered.

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Wedding Day Etiquette | UKbride

Weddings are an ancient custom steeped in tradition, and thus should be celebrated with equal measures of enthusiasm and etiquette. If you’re flummoxed by formalities, and puzzled by polite protocol, read on to discover the dos and don’ts of decency!

For guests:

In the first instance, guests should accept, or decline, the wedding invitation by the RSVP date stipulated on the invite. Once you accept, you are obliged to attend — no last minute changing of plans (unless there is an emergency of course!)

When choosing an outfit, it is vital to remember that a bride is the star of the show. It’s her day — and as a guest you must not outshine her! Wearing white — or anything remotely bridal in style for that matter — is a big no-no!

Arriving punctually for the ceremony is another must — it is extremely rude to walk in after the bride, and what’s more, you’ll miss the best bits of the marriage itself!

It is also considered polite for guests to buy the couple a gift, often from a gift list compiled by the bride and groom prior to their wedding.

For bride and groom:

The groom and his best man should arrive at the venue at least 20 minutes prior to the ceremony’s start.

The bride travels to the church with her father. The father of the bride also has the responsibility of making the first speech, and traditionally he should be the last person to leave the reception.

Your vicar will normally advise on the correct order of service, but usually the ceremony progresses as follows:

Introductory medley; entrance of the bride, (or processional); hymns; marriage vows and prayers; hymn or psalm blessing; signing of the register; recessional.

Upon leaving the ceremony, the exit of the wedding party should be in the order of: bride and groom, chief bridesmaid and best man, mother and father of the bride, mother and father of the groom, bridesmaids and attendants, followed by the remaining guests.

At the reception, the groom is expected to introduce his bride to any friends or family she has not met before. He must also always thank the bride’s parents in his speech and include a toast to the bridesmaids.

Seating your guests however, is perhaps the toughest task when it comes to wedding etiquette, and tackling the top table can be particularly tricky! A traditional format seats the bride and groom together in the centre. The bride is seated on the groom’s left. To the bride’s left is her father, the groom’s mother, and the best man. To the groom’s right is the bride’s mother, the groom’s father, and chief bridesmaid.

Alternatives for weddings where the bride’s parents are divorced, still seats the bride and groom in the centre, but to the bride’s left, is her father, the groom’s mother, the best man, and the bride’s stepmother. Similarly, to the groom’s right sits the bride’s mother, groom’s father, chief bridesmaid, and, on the far right the bride’s stepmother. A similar model can be applied if it the groom’s parents who are divorced and re-married.

If you have a more ‘unconventional’ family arrangement, feel free to adapt the setup in order to best suit your needs!

The cutting of the cake should take place after the speeches, and guests should not take to the floor until the bride and groom have had their first dance.

Voilà — now there’s no need to sweat over wedding etiquette!

Advice

Suitable For The Occassion

People see weddings as an opportunity to dress up and look their very best. Guests’ clothing should be appropriate to an occasion that is, at its heart, a serious ceremony, and also often one that takes place in a house of worship.

The wedding invitation and the time of the wedding will be your best guide to its formality. Other factors will influence your dress choice:

    • The nature of the service: Is it secular or religious? Does the religion or the culture of the bridal couple require head coverings? Would bare shoulders and arms or open-toed shoes be offensive?
    • Local custom: Some parts of the country are more conservative than others.

Here is a breakdown of what kind of attire is expected for men and women and for different levels of formality:

Formal

Daytime

Women*: Cocktail or dressy afternoon dress.

Men: Dark suit; conservative shirt and tie.

Evening

Women*: Depending on local customs, long evening dress or dressy cocktail dress; gloves optional.

Men: Tuxedo (required if invitation states “Black tie”) or dark suit.

Semiformal

Women*: Dressy afternoon dress, suit, or pantsuit.

Men: Dark suit; Blazer, grey flannels, tie.

Women: Cocktail dress, dressy pantsuit.

Men: Dark suit.

Informal

Women*: Afternoon dress; dressy skirt or pants and blouse.

Men: Sports jacket or blazer, slacks, tie optional.

Women*: Afternoon or cocktail dress.

Men: Blazer, grey flannel or slacks, tie optional.

*Hats or head coverings optional (unless required).

What’s a Mother to Wear? (Almost) Anything!

Naturally, you want to look terrific on the day your daughter or son gets married—because while it’s true that all eyes will be on the bride, they’ll also be on you. The old concept that both moms are supposed to look matronly was retired long ago, along with the colorless advice that the mother of the groom should wear beige, unless that’s her color. Fashionable, tasteful and age-appropriate are in.

These days, virtually anything goes—formal gown, short or long dress, skirt-and-jacket ensemble—so long as it matches the style of the wedding. Brides can be very helpful by encouraging “the moms” to work together in choosing their outfits. Some guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Traditionally, the bride’s mother has the honor of selecting her outfit first.
  • Try not to choose colors that are the same or very similar to the bride’s and bridesmaids’ dresses—you won’t stand out.
  • Wear different colors from each other. Variations on the wedding color scheme are fine as long as each mother’s dress is distinct.
  • The length of the gown or dress is a personal choice, even for formal weddings. Long dresses and skirts are fine for any wedding from noon on.
  • The mothers do not have to wear dresses of equal length, although many do, feeling that it creates a more harmonious look, especially in wedding photos.

Wedding Outfit Wisdom: Top Five Tips

  1. A specialty store, rather than a department store, will offer much more personalized attention throughout the process—from choosing a dress to making alterations to selecting just the right undergarments.
  2. If possible, bring in a swatch of the bridesmaids’ gown material when you go shopping, or have a description of the gown’s color.
  3. Order your outfit at least two to three months ahead of time, and allow at least two weeks for alterations.
  4. When buying your dress, get specific advice on which undergarments and hose will go best with it.
  5. As for who calls whom to discuss ‘our outfits,’ the mother of the groom shouldn’t stand on ceremony; if she hasn’t heard anything once the initial wedding plans are underway, she’s perfectly welcome to call the mother of the bride.

Tadashi Shoji Blog

Black tie or semi-formal? Can you wear white? De-coding a wedding invitation can take some serious etiquette knowledge. There are so many rules to sort out. Don’t be the guest who arrives at your friend’s wedding ceremony completely clueless. We turned to Lizzie Post, the great-great-granddaughter of legendary manners expert Emily Post of the seminal book Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home, to help us stop wedding faux pas from forming. Besides being the co-author of countless books including Emily Post’s Etiquette, Post is president of The Emily Post Institute and co-host of the Awesome Etiquette podcast.

With Post’s help, we break down what bridal guests can or cannot wear to the wedding.

BLACK TIE

When the invite calls for black tie, Post states that the men are to wear a black tuxedo while the female wedding guests are to wear formal gowns. The dresses should be floor length evening gowns but there are exceptions. “It’s not uncommon for women to be seen wearing knee-length dresses,” Post says. “But make sure that the dress is formal-looking and not a jersey knit material that might appear too casual for the event.”

BLACK TIE OPTIONAL

Wedding guests can opt out of wearing tuxedos but this isn’t a call to dress casually. Post recommends wearing a sophisticated cocktail dress or evening gown while men can be seen in tuxedo or a dark suit with a white dress shirt and conservative tie.

CREATIVE BLACK TIE

“Guests have more latitude,” says Post. “The hosts are really inviting you to wear what you want.” For example, men’s cumberbund can be worn in a bright loud color. If the wedding is at the beach, this can be your opportunity to wear sandals instead of heels. But Post warns to follow the lead of the bride and groom. Be attentive to any particular theme they want guests to follow.

SEMI-FORMAL

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to semi-formal. “You are most likely going to look at wearing a cocktail dress or little black dress,” she says. “Although the invitation may state semi-formal, I would choose a dress in a solid color or an elegant pattern.”

FESTIVE ATTIRE

If the wedding is tied to a holiday, keep that in mind as well. Post suggests wearing cocktail dresses, dressier separates, and for men to wear season sport coats or blazers with slacks. Open collar shirts are fine options.

CASUAL

“I try to avoid casual in general since it doesn’t give anyone a clear definition on what to wear,” says Post. She suggest not showing up in jeans but perhaps wear a cute sundress. “You want to still honor the occasion so don’t dress down for the event,” she adds.

WHITE

The age-old question, should a wedding guest wear white, or any shade of white? Post is very clear on this: Guest should not wear white to a wedding and she takes it one step further. Guests shouldn’t wear an outfit that will attract too much attention. “You don’t want to wear something completely backless or slits up to the hip,” she says. “Instead wear a beautiful elegant gown that doesn’t take away from the bride. It is their day.”

Bonus Bridal Guest Tips:

When attending the wedding, Post suggest double checking on the bride or groom in regards to bringing a wedding gift to the ceremony. “They might not want to deal with transporting these gifts,” Post says. She also insists that if the invitation states no kids, then that means you cannot show up with little ones. And finally, follow the seating arrangements since they were set up for a reason. “You could have been seated at a certain table because you are a great conversationalist,” Post says. “You don’t know. You should avoid being a nuisance and keep in mind why you are there to celebrate the nuptials.”

Lizzie Post, is the great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post and co-author of Emily Post’s Etiquette 18th edition as well as Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette 6th edition and The Etiquette Advantage in Business 3rd edition. Lizzie does speaking engagements across the country sharing advice about entertaining, weddings, dating, dining etiquette, tech-etiquette, finance and lifestyle. She has worked as a spokesperson for companies including Bank of America, American Express, AirBnB, and Genentech. She is a columnist with Women’s Running magazine, Good Housekeeping magazine, and Houzz.com. She is the co-host of the Awesome Etiquette podcast on American Public Media’s podcast network Infinite Guest. She is a regular guest on American Public Media’s The Dinner Party. Lizzie offers a fresh perspective with an engaging and modern voice. She delights in tackling etiquette’s taboo topics with the media, making her a popular source. Her interviews include NBC’s The Today Show, Katie, Fox & Friends, Live with Kelly and Michael, The Gayle King Show, The Wendy Williams Show, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, Harper’s Bazaar, Travel & Leisure, Glamour, Redbook, The Huffington Post and more.